I think they're great! I've never cooked from them myself, but the idea is sound and the prices are reasonable. Especially in the $45 one she includes a lot of staples of cooking on the cheap that most poor people use -- lentil soup, lots of beans, re-using left overs. I don't think that I'd cook them specifically for my family unless we were in complete "financial fire drill" mode, because we avoid tuna (mercury) and processed meats. We'd probably modify them a bit to use a bean dish on those nights. They'd work great for a singleton, unless you're the type to get bored with the same food night after night... there's a lot of repetition there.
no, but what a wonderful website, i am HORRIBLE AT COOKING, planning a schedule to cook, menus, and most certainly at shopping, so next time I go grocery shopping I'm going to try this out! Thank you so much!
Outside of the dry milk it looks good.

My uncle is single and prepares all his food on Sunday and refrigerates/freezes for the rest of the week, so I'm sure it's possible. I often make spaghetti sauce, or beans in a huge batch and freeze the rest. The frozen always tastes just as good as the fresh (if used in a timely manner anyway... lol).
I like dry milk, it's a really great product. I use it for coffee (foams up when you shake it up so I feel like I am having something special), all sorts of recipes and camping trips.
i agree. it's so easy to eat cheap healthily, there's no need for things like instant mashed potatoes and other processed-to-death stuff.
It does sound interesting but I don't think that I would do it purely because the thought of knowing that I have to eat the same meals over would bore me senseless. I would, prehaps, buy the ingredients (minus a few) and see what I could come up with myself.
I think it's meant for emergencies. Any diet of the severely poverty stricken is going to be somewhat bland and boring, btw. For me, this just makes me take a new look at food and what most of us claim to 'need'.
To be honest, I think with a little research you could find good food that is lower in fat and better for you. Some of the stuff is fine, but part of poorskills is to prevent healthcare issues and eating right is a big part of it. Some though i'm sure would be fine, like lentil soups and black beans. But mac and cheese and raman noodles aren't very good for you. And hot dog stir fry? I'm sorry, but ew.

Another thing you might want to at least look at is the fact that the only fruit servings I saw were in jams and juices - no fresh or frozen fruits at all. And the veggies were sorely lacking as well. Its very high on carbs, fat and protiens, but if you aren't getting fruits and veggies than it needs to be tweaked a bit.

I think the basic idea is good, and i'd think about using SOME of the ideas, but I can't cut out fruits and veggies in the interest of saving a few dollars and sacrificing my health.
Yeah, I was just thinking of using that as a basis for me. I would some more salads and no hot dog stirfries for sure.
Along with what others have said above, I'm highly suspicious of cost. Maybe in the back hills of WV you could pay $70 and get all that, but not where I live (even being diligent and shopping ALL the sales). I think it would be a great guide to use to give you ideas, but I wouldn't want to eat that menu in a week because I have much different personal tastes (and health requirements, do people still really eat margarine and think it's good for them?).
Unless the folks in backhills WV are growing their own wheat & such, I highly doubt they could get it for those prices.

Keep in mind, if they really do live that far out, the price aren't really that different, maybe more because the stores know you cannot get to a local Wal*Mart/Kroger/etc.

Now that I look at the list, yeah, you can get most of that for the prices that are listed. Mind you, you'd have to go to a deeply discounted store such as Aldi's for some of it.

Yep, I am from WV. However, I was born & raised in the Charleston area which is hardly considered the back hills when compared to the rest of the state. :)
I would never serve that for my family, I spent £35 this week on food for 4 people, and its much healithier than all that, I will admit we dont have much choice this week but we chose to spend more money on other things. Cheap can be healithy.
£35 is almost twice that much in US dollars at present. Glancing at a currency calculator, the emergency menu there would be for you more like trying to make ends meet on £23 instead, and their menu can evidently be stretched for up to six people if necessary. Not that I'd want to do that unless I had to, but... the $70 menu, which is closer to your budget, is pretty ordinary and could probably be healthier but at least doesn't include the hot dog stir fry as far as I can see. ;)
Ditto what folks have said about it sounding rather unhealthy. It has been, in my experience, significantly cheaper the past year for my husband and I to avoid processed and packaged food. I feed us both on about $40 a week, and we eat *good*.

It is a bit more expensive, up front, to cook from scratch but averaged out it is so cheap I just cringe at the thought of a $1 box of mac and cheese now. I can make the same amount for about half that from scratch, and there's no nuclear orange "cheese" powder. Heh.

So I'd say use that kind of menu as a guide, but try to find ways to make the dishes, or similar ones, from scratch.

Cooking for one is fun, I always thought. I'd make up big pots of chili, pasta, soups and stews and freeze them all in single servings sizes in gladware containers or ziplock bags, and have "TV Dinners", as I called them, all the time. I'd keep some staples or things I liked to cook fresh on hand, but about once a month I'd take a sunday and fill my fridge, for about $40 and that would last me all month, easy, having lunches everyday at work and most dinners. And it was awesome being able to go two or three weeks without actually cooking, just reheating things, I had so much free time, it seemed!

Also, frozen veggies were my friend. I'd buy the bags of them and be able to just dole out 1 serving and it took about 3 minutes to heat one up on the stove, so I could have plenty of veggies. Yeah, they were frozen instead of fresh, but I never had to worry about throwing out veggies that had gone bad.

frozen veg is just as good, if not better, if it's frozen straight after picking and not cooked in too much water.
I think the $40 menu is supposed to be more for an emergency situation, not a long-term solution to feeding your family. It'd be ok to have hot dogs and ramen for a week or two until payday or a new job started or whatever, but not forever. The site has some good recipes (not the hot-dog stir fry, blech) or ideas of things to do with beans and other cheap and healthy foods.

I'd do a modified version of this plan. I wouldn't bother with the orange juice, wouldn't do ramen or hot dogs or so much "white food", and would try to work in a few more vegetables (frozen or farmer's market).
LOL I'm reminded of a book I used to own, that I rather miss. I particularly remember "Poor Man's Soup" which is just Saltines with hot milk on top to make a soup. Really good but pretty trashy yea. :) There were some other gems like that but I forget them. I think there was a recipe for Cooter Stew that I never tried....

I think that the $45 menu is really designed for emergencies when you absolutely cannot afford any more than that and even they point out that it's skimpier than it probably needs to be because it doesn't assume you already have anything.

Few people in the US would be eating that way long-term, because food stamps and other aid programs are available. If it's just for a week or two, ramen might not be healthy but you're not going to keel over. Shortly before my father declared bankruptcy when I was in high school, I would very much have liked to have had this information, because there really were days when we were eating ramen, rice and beans because he hadn't gotten paid and we couldn't go to the grocery store just yet. Some variety, even if it wasn't especially healthy, would have been much better for morale.
Unfortunately, while foodstamps are available in theory, they aren't available in acutality for many people. My partner and I, while poor and living very close to this $45 budget, cannot obtain food stamps. We aren't poor enough. I just re-evaluated our incomes and we still don't qualify. If I take us down to the maximum level, just to see where things would fall, we'd get a whopping $17/mo in food stamps. Like that's going to make much of a difference.
In my area, the maximum gross monthly for two people to qualify for foodstamps is $1430. That's BEFORE taxes, bills, etc. With a small one-room studio running ~450/500 a month wihtout utilities, you can see how insane that is.

As sad as it is to say, there are a lot of us in this country who DO live and eat similar to that on a daily basis, becuase otherwise we lose our homes and our heat.
Try the Magic Milkshakes! They are YUMMY.

This is a good site to retrain your thinking about what is 'necessary' and what can be stretched. Reading this site, I decided to cut back even more on coffee, and I absolutely love warm rice and milk. I eat it plain, it's very comforting like a porridge.
i can't for the life fidn the comment that someone said about margerine, but on her site it says "

"Although some margarines contain more trans fat than butter, the total of trans and saturated fat (the LDL-C raising fats) is always less than the total for butter. The total for butter is much higher because of all the saturated fat that it contains." -- Quoted from the FDA. Click here for the whole page.


i think margerines disgusting though and could never eat it.
i've made a lot of dishes from the $40 menu and elsewhere from the site, and i've liked them all but one (scalloped tomatoes). if you're cooking for one like me, you'll have plenty of leftovers for lunch or nights when you don't want to cook.

btw, well over half her recipes are vegan, and i've had no problem using egg replacer for her baked goods like cookies. her snickerdoodle recipe is my favorite :)
her beginner's bread is really that easy and tastes marvelous! the biscuit mix works well too. i think she took the $40 and $75 menus from the tightwad gazette - i actually dug my copy out to check, because her menus look VERY familiar.